7. Last run of the big three in Los Angeles?
With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin again having to work through injuries, the Los Angeles Clippers find themselves at 35-21 on the season and as the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Not only would this mean a second-round playoff matchup with Golden State, it could potentially lead to a first-round series against the up-and-coming Utah Jazz. That’s definitely not an ideal scenario for this squad.
Unfortunately, we simply can’t look at the Clippers as legitimate conference title contenders. Despite boasting one of the best trios in the game, Los Angeles has not made it past the conference semifinals in Doc Rivers’ three-plus seasons as the team’s head coach. This has led to speculation that said big three might be broken up here in short order.
More so than the injury bug that keeps in plaguing this squad, it simply has not proven capable of going up against the big dog out west. The Clippers are 0-3 against Golden State this season, losing by a combined 76 points in those three games. Dating back to last season, Los Angeles is actually 0-7 against the Warriors with an average defeat of 15.2 points.
That’s the crux of the issue here. If the Clippers can’t remain competitive against the best the NBA has to offer, what makes us think they can go deep in the playoffs with this current group of players?
Chris Paul has an early-termination option on his contract this summer. Based on the increased cap, it’s something he is surely going to utilize. Meanwhile, Griffin has just one year remaining on his deal.
It will be interesting to see what the Clippers do here if they don’t make a deep run in the playoffs. Maybe, the team will attempt to keep both Paul and Griffin while getting a nice package in a potential DeAndre Jordan deal. Either way, the future is now in Los Angeles. It just doesn’t seem likely that the future will include June basketball.